I bought this car three days ago and have put just over 100miles on it so this is truely a first impressions review. We bought this car to replace a small SUV. We needed gas mileage over space and this seemed like a really good option. The engine: with the 2.5 liter you push on the gas and it really responds. I did an extended test drive of the 2.0 engine and while it had good excelleration the sweet spot seemed to always be lagging. The 2.5 is a vast improvement and if your budget allows it's a must have. Smooth acceleration and quite a bit of kick for a 4 cyl. Is it going to keep up with the small hatches that have turbo chargers or 300hp. No, but if you want that you're probably looking at other cars, for a bit more money. The interior: we bought the Grand Touring with most options and while the layout is different from your normal car I can already see that it is achieving Mazdas goal of keeping your eyes on the road. With the controls to most everything down on the console instead of on the dash you can manipulate the Nav and radio mostly by touch. It's very intuitive and has a smart phone/iPhone style interface. The heads up display seemed a bit of overkill but I've already began to love it. If Mazda could of added preset driver recognition so you didn't manually have to change it every time a new driver got in that would be great but it takes 10 seconds to manipulate it. The leather is way nicer then you would expect from a mid-level hatch and the cars interior screams quality. With automatic everything; rain sensing wipers, automatic headlights, even automatic door locks with the smart key this car stands out and it has heated seats! The voice activated feature seems to work really well, the 7in touchscreeb is very easy to see and the 9speaker Bose stereo has sounded great. Ours has Nav but that wasn't a selling point. In today's world most of us are carrying Nav in our pockets but it's easy to use. The Exterior: the styling is very eye catching. We have the eternal blue mica and it really pops! We had a choice of this or white and the blue just made me look longer. With nicely tinted Windows it has great lines and The 18in rims are nice, some may want to upgrade but you won't need to. If you buy a lesser trim level with steel wheels it's a must the stock Mazda wheels kill the look of this car, but work within your budget. The ride in my opinion is on par for this kind of car. Will It feel like a SUV, no, your driving on low profile tires so you feel the road but it's reasonable for a car of this type. The one thing I didn't love was the cargo space floor. Typically the spare is under the cargo area and it is in this as well. Most cars have a piece or thin fabric covered wood or plastic between and it gives the cargo area a solid floor. This has a thick fabric that sit directly on styrofoam that surrounds the spare. It just feels cheap. I may try and add somthing in between to firm it up. Overall this car meets our needs and was in our budget. I'm looking forward to lower gas usage and long term reliability.
Love our Mazda 3 overall with only one big exception -- more to follow on that. My wife and I bought the Mazda 3 for a commuting car. Love the peppy little 2.0 engine -- it routinely gets 40mph back and forth to work, it handles very well and it is very fun to drive. The road noise for a small car is low, which is quite amazing and the seats are very comfortable. The only issue I CANNOT STAND is the disabling of the touch screen while driving. I have a RAM 1500 truck that has a great touch screen that works during driving and is very easy to use. Mazda, in the name of safety, disables the touch screen while in motion and makes you use a terrible interface that makes dialing a phone or plugging an address into the NAV system a huge chore. My wife is usually with me during commutes but this system is not smart enough to know someone is in the passenger seat so they can use the touch screen. The interface is TERRIBLE and it takes a lot more concentration than just using a touch screen because you have to use a dial to "type in" an address or phone number. Reminds me of the old rotary phones from the 1950's. HORRIBLE interface and I wish they would fix it (easy software fix). I may not have purchased this car if I knew how much this would annoy me.
First off, it has a proper 6-sp manual! Have only owned it a couple of weeks, so I can't speak to it's long-term reliability, yet. That said, I traded an Audi A4 Quattro for the Mazda and it was the best car-related decision I have ever made. While I do miss the way the turbo pushed me into the seat back, and the brilliant awd, the Mazda makes up for it in every other way. It has a higher power-to-weight ratio than the Audi, and the 185lbft of torque it makes really gets the lightweight moving off the line. Not to mention that the 184hp is enough to cause a slight amount of torque-steer when you run it through it's manual gears. The Mazda has a better interior, more comfortable seats, a better sounds system (I have the 9-seaker Bose), and is just as well equipped otherwise. And for a lot less money! Like, half as much. The Mazda's handling is superb, it corners like it's on rails, and the SkyActiv G-Vectoring Control is subtle and non-intrusive, yet amazing (I do a lot of mountain road driving). The brakes are as tight, and stop just as hard, as the Audi. The looks are beautiful and the LED headlights are excellent. I really have nothing negative to say about this car that isn't just being nit-picking. I would highly recommend this car to anyone looking at this class. Definitely pony-up for the premier equipment package. You get the LED lighting, navigation, and the heated steering wheel. (Which is amazing at 5:30am when it's 18° out)
After not have a manual transmission for the past 5 years, I really wanted to shift again. I was looking for a fun and inexpensive car that would meet my needs. Previous to purchasing this car, I owned a 15 Subaru Forester XT. While it met most of my needs, there were a few issues that popped up that made me weary to keep it much longer(I have posted my final impressions on this website of my 15 Forester). At any rate, I am so happy that I took a chance and downsized to this Mazda 3. For 22k($2000 cash back) this car is so well sorted. The leather seats provide excellent support, I have plenty of legroom(I'm 6ft2 200lbs) and headroom, the steering is surgically precise, and the clutch and shifter are buttery smooth. I was worried that going from a 250hp turbo to a 184hp engine was going to be a major bummer. Not so, the engine pulls strong throughout the rev range and has plenty of power for my needs. I recently drove it up a local canyon that starts at 4500 feet and ends and 8200 feet. It was the most fun I have ever had driving! The Bose stereo is very impressive and the back up camera has a nice, clean picture. The command knob takes about 30 seconds to figure out. This is a vehicle that has so many positive attributes, it is no wonder why Car and Driver has praised it so often. Gas mileage with less than 200 miles on it is still in the upper 20's in a mix of driving. There are a few downsides, but I knew of them before the purchase. Cargo capacity is on the small size though I was able to put (5) 5 gallons water jugs in the cargo with room to spare this morning. Rearward visibility in the rear corners is a bit limited, but with the backup camera and correct side mirror adjustments take away the blind spots for the most part. I can sit in the back seat where the drivers seat is adjusted fairly comfortably with more than enough headroom. I plan on keeping this car for several years, it is the first time in many years that I actually look forward to driving. Great car Mazda!
This is my Second Mazda 3 GT. The first was a 2015
written on 04-11-2017
Grand Touring 4dr Hatchback (2.5L 4cyl 6M)
I just bought this car two weeks ago after having spent a year and a half with the 2015. And they've fixed the one thing I didn't like about the 2015. The NOISE. After having driven the previous car for 30,000 miles I had gotten to the point where highway trips were out of the question because of the road noise. The 2017 is much much quieter and slightly more composed. Also both have remarkable handling characteristics, but driving the 2017 is like driving around on rails. This new car has a manual transmission instead of the 2015's automatic. As good as the automatic is in the other car, driving a 4 cylinder car with a six speed automatic became an exercise in quickly finding the Sport Mode button and using the paddle shifters to approximate some kind of civilized driving . Still has all the qualities that make me love this car. Good looks, beautiful interior, incredible handling, excellent build quality, and because it's so easy to park, it's one of the best city cars I've ever driven. However the seats may be a challenge for the horizontally challenged. Update - Avg. MPG is sitting at 30.5 in mostly city driving. UPDATE: Trip to Eureka Springs and a trip to Denver both went off without a hitch. Seats are good for long distance driving.